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Local councilman holds rally on problematic No. 7 train service

Posted at 7:42 AM, Mar 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-11 07:44:50-04

SUNNYSIDE, Queens (PIX11)-- Council member Jimmy Van Bramer is asking straphangers to share horror stories about the No. 7 train service at a rally Wednesday morning in Sunnyside, Queens.

From overcrowded cars to chronic signal problems, along with the weekend service outages, there always seems to be an issue with Flushing and Grand Central-bound line.

Riders are frustrated and are pushing the MTA to improve service. At 8 a.m., Bramer is holding a rally at 8 a.m. for straphangers to voice their stories.

Those who rely on the No. 7 train have had a rough time this winter.

In February, ice on the third rail shut down service on the entire line for hours, while switch and signal problems have led to delays and suspensions on other days.

On March 5, service was suspended for 90 minutes between Hunters Point and Times Square during the morning rush because of a smoke condition.

Organizers of Sunnyside's annual St. Pat's for All parade were upset when service on much of the line was suspended because of scheduled repair work.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said these issues are being addressed though the agency's capital improvement projects, which include the installation of countdown clocks at station and adding more trains to the line.

MTA said in a statement to PIX11 News:

"Their concerns are exactly why we are out working on the Flushing Line on a regular basis. The ongoing work on the 7 remains absolutely critical to the line’s reliability, safety and longevity...

 multi-year, $550 million capital improvement project to replace the antiquated 50 to 90 year-old signaling system on the 7 line with state-of-the-art CBTC technology will continue into 2017."

NYC transit is also addressing critical track conditions that require the removal and replacement of elevated track panels that have reached the end of their useful lifespan and could impact operational capacity. If old track panels are not replaced, they become subject to mandatory speed reductions, which result in fewer trains operating per hour and more crowding.

In all, NYC Transit expects to renew and replace approximately 2,980 feet of old track representing a $15 million investment.